1999 Dodge Grand Caravan - Brakes Went

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  #1  
Old 06-20-12, 09:57 AM
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1999 Dodge Grand Caravan - Brakes Went

I was rounding a curve and saw a car turning left. I stepped on the brakes and my van seemed to accelerate rather than slow down. I found that only my emergency brake was working. When I got home my neighbor looked at the brake lines after finding that the master cylinder appeared to have emptied. He found the leak but we are at a loss as to how to replace what needs to be replaced. Without a brake line diagram, I cannot specify which part needs to be replaced.
Please us figure out what needs to be replaced and how to do it.
Thank you
 
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Old 06-20-12, 11:13 AM
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UPDATE
There are six connections to the CAB. Two are for lines that go to the rear of the van. They have sections (about 6 inches long) of flex tubing in them. One of the rearward connections to the solid metal tubing leaks. Both lines of solid metal tubing are covered with corrosion for the first several inches after the flex tubing connections.
 
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Old 06-20-12, 12:50 PM
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On a 13 year old vehicle being kept in the winter salty slush, I think I would opt for getting all the brake lines replaced. If one has given up the ghost, chances are the rest aren't far behind. Brake line repair/replacement is borderline DIY because of the critical nature of the work, as you discovered when the line went out. We see it down here fairly often on vehicles with a northern history.
 
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Old 06-21-12, 02:45 AM
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UPDATE
My neighbor is cutting the 2 rear brake lines where the rust ends and we will fabricate new sections to attach to the CAB and connect them to the old lines with compression fittings. The other option was to have Dodge replace the entire rear lines with lines the dealership would fabricate. Total dealership estimate $600~$700 with $130 brake line bleeding included.
QUESTION
What are the braided (flex) sections about I cannot see a purpose to them.
 
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Old 06-21-12, 04:25 AM
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Normally the only time you would see flex lines in a brake system would be where there is some movement as with the flex hoses at the front wheels. Are these in a spot that has some movement? Have you gotten an estimate on replacement from a good independent, too? That sounds more than a little steep when you consider you're only talking rears; for that much money o would have thought you could get all four corners done. You'd be quoted premium price at a dealership (like for instance $130 to bleed the system) and brake line work, although a bit time-consuming and tedious, isn't exactly rocket science. Just to satisfy my own curiosity I'll have to remember to ask a couple of garages what that job would run on average.
 
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Old 06-21-12, 07:00 AM
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The location of the flex sections confuses me. There should be no movement.
As to the $130 brake bleed - the 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan with ABS requires a computer to communicate with something in the brake system in order to allow a proper bleed. This computer is rather expensive and unlikely to be in possession of independent repair shops not specializing in Dodge vehicles. I suspect that the Monroe franchise that did the front brakes did not have such a computer and fouled up the bleeding. They left the car with so much pressure in the lines that taking off the master cylinder reservoir cap would have resulted in a brake fluid fountain. This may have hastened the leak at the flex tubing/rusted tubing junction.
One might call this a job security feature
 
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Old 06-22-12, 05:04 AM
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I was wondering if the brake bleed $ was ABS proprietary work of some kind. Even so that leaves $470-570 for replacing the two lines. Still sounds a bit steep to me. Was near my favorite garage yesterday and completely forgot to ask about this kind of job.
 
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Old 06-22-12, 07:01 AM
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I sure don't like the use of compression fittings on brake lines....they should be flare fittings. I think they do make some sort of splice fitting specifically for brakes...but I don't know if they use a flare or not.

Certainly you shouldn't use compression fittings from the plumbing aisle.
 
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Old 06-22-12, 09:08 AM
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Don't know for sure but I think when you make a piece of brake line you have to use a double flare. I've always taken the bad line off, measured the length and then bought a new one at the parts store. They only come in certain links and you have to bend them yourself but I've never had any trouble making work whatever length I had to buy.
 
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Old 06-22-12, 09:13 AM
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And I stand corrected on the $ issue. Ran it past my best tow buddy this morning who has a lot of years under his belt as a wrench-turner previous to having a towing business and he says that price quote was probably not out of line. Also confirms the ABS bleeding issue. He did say that the better independent garages would probably have the necessary scanner software to do it, but not to count on the guy fixing cars out of an old barn in his back yard being able to do it.
 
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Old 06-23-12, 04:07 AM
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UPDATE
After tightening the new connections and verifying no leaks we removed the master cylinder and rinsed a lot of grit out of its reservoir. Clearly my son-in-law did nothing to attempt to clean it. We then replaced it and started to check the front brakes. The ones that the Newburgh Monroe franchise had charged my son-in-law for replacing. The passenger side hub cap was full of brake dust. We are soaking the lug nuts with PB Blaster because they were too tight to loosen with a normal lug wrench. The driver side pads failed to move when the brake pedal was pumped. The bleeder was so tight as to make my neighbor fear that attempting to open the bleeder would brake it. It is also being soaked with PB Blaster.
 
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Old 06-23-12, 04:29 AM
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Now I'm thoroughly confused; how are you doing the brake bleed sans a Chrysler scanner if it's required for a proper bleed???
 
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Old 06-23-12, 07:31 PM
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UPDATE
We got the lug nuts off the passenger side front tire and found the pads to have been doing all of the front wheel braking. While the driver side pads were unworn, these were worn over half way down. The driver side bleeder screw refused to be remove. We finished rounding off the hex with a vise grip. We then took off the caliper and I attempted to hold the rounded head in a vise while turning the caliper. That too failed. We then resorted to taking it to a mechanic who got it out.
Getting a replacement bleeder screw turned out to be an adventure. Advance auto parts wanted ~$18 for a pair of bleeder screws but had none in stock. AutoZone provided an assortment pack for $10 and CarQuest provided a pair from an assortment pack.
The answer to the bleeding question is that we will attempt to bleed the old fashioned way in order to find out if the driver side front caliper will work. Pushing its piston back in was accomlished with a bar clamp. It went easily. Pushing the piston of the passenger side caliper piston back was also accomplished with the bar clamp but was more difficult.
Once we get the brakes working, I will take the van to Dodge for the $130 bleed.
 
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Old 06-23-12, 08:00 PM
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If you have a Firestone are Mienke or Midas they should be cheaper than the dealer those are nationwide places just off the top and you can also inquir at any of the larger auto repair shops. Almost all of the shops here have the programming to activate the ABS for proper bleeding. Most of them get about $40 to do a 4 wheel bleed.
Jim
 
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Old 06-24-12, 01:10 AM
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THANKS JIM
After that Monroe disaster I was unsure if I could be able to trust an independent or franchise to have what it takes to properly bleed the brakes. It is clear that Newburgh Monroe did not even try. That their newly installed front driver pads were still unworn while the passenger side pads were more than half gone and the driver side bleeder was so frozen in place is proof enough of that.
It may have been that my son-in-law opted to decline the bleeding if it entailed additional cost. The invoice did not show this but that a shop would not inform that it had not properly bled the brakes is cause for me to contact the BBB about this one. I have to wonder if there is a regulatory agency that should also be informed.
 
  #16  
Old 06-24-12, 05:10 PM
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UPDATE
The van is now ready for the ABS bleed. My neighbor tells me that the muffler he bandaged with putty needs to be replaced before I proceed to have the van inspected. Details are in another thread. I will return to that thread for further details about the muffler.

I wish to thank everyone for their advice on the brake line and bleeding issue.
 
  #17  
Old 06-25-12, 07:41 AM
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Best thing I've found when a bleeder wants to round off is use a little 6" pipe wrench. It still might snap off but it will turn.

I hate vice grips. Only thing they are good for is holding the garage door up when changing springs.
 
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